Willowwood Arboretum: One of the Nice Kind of Arboretums!

Wisteria at the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Wisteria at the Willowwood Arboretum

Arboretums are fickle places to visit.  They can be very interesting, or very boring, depending on the upkeep, the flowers, and what’s in season at the moment.  I’m glad to say that I’ve been treated to several arboretums that were excellently kept up and had beautiful flowers in season when I visited.  One was Kent Park Arboretum, in Webster, NY; another was the Willowwood Arboretum in Morris County, NJ.  The latter is the subject of this post.  When I visited in late May, there were many flowers in bloom, and it looked like there would be a lot more later in the season, as well.  (The flowers are later than usual this year due to a cool spring.)  I had a lovely time wondering the gardens, which included lilacs, beautiful wisteria, a bamboo forest, a Mediterranean garden, and more trees and plants with identification tags than I could possibly look at.  There are also options for hiking trails (forested) nearby, so you could get the best of both worlds in one place!

 


 

The entrance to the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

The entrance to the arboretum

The Willowwood Arboretum trail begins by walking toward the buildings.  Weddings are often held here on summer weekends, so be considerate.  The first thing that caught my eye was a lovely arbor covered in wisteria.  We don’t have a lot of that up where I live, so it was very cool to see.

 

Looking up through the wisteria arbor at the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Looking up through the wisteria arbor

 

Nearby was a “crane flower” (also known as a bird of paradise).

 

“Bird of Paradise” or “Crane Flower”

 

We continued to wander the gardens, seeing an old pump…

 

The old pump at the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

The old pump

 

…but turned left fairly quickly to go see the lilac bushes.

 

The Lilac Bushes at the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

The Lilac Bushes

 

From here, we sort of got on a more rustic trail which led to trees more than flowers, although there were enough flowering trees and flower bushes to keep us happily identifying trees by the tags for a while.  One flowering tree had dropped its petals on a pine / fern-like plant, which made it look like the plant produced pretty pink flowers!

Flower petals on a fern, Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Flower petals on a fern

Nearby was a flowering bush with deep pink flowers.

 

Flowers at the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

One of my favorite photos from that day

 

We kept walking along the various mowed trails, past some Adirondack chairs.  You can’t fault the arboretum on its benches and other seats; they seem to be just about everywhere!

 

Adirondack chairs along one of the trails in the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Adirondack chairs along one of the trails

 

We finally strolled back toward the main gardens, and I stumbled into the Rosarie Garden, perhaps better described as the Mediterranean Garden.  A fountain in a huge urn was the centerpiece (the urns also seem to be everywhere), but the plants were also interesting.

 

The Mediterranean Garden in Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

The Mediterranean Garden

 

I then wandered into the Pan Garden, also known as the White Garden because all the flowers are white.  This is near the back porch of the house.

 

The Pan Garden in the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

The Pan Garden

 

By this point, I’d gotten completely separated from the rest of my group, so I thought I’d try and follow them by going down some steps toward a more forested part of the gardens, away from the house and toward the Japanese section of the gardens.  This turned out to be my favorite section in the arboretum – the photo opportunities were almost endless, and it was just a cool area!

 

In the Japanese section of the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

In the Japanese section of the garden

 

The trail crossed some stones in a lush area…

 

Stepping stones that take you further into the Japanese Garden at the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Stepping stones that take you further into the garden

 

…then came to a stone bridge over a little stream.

 

Mini Stone Bridge, Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Mini Stone Bridge

 

Just after the stream, the bamboo forest appeared on the left.

Bamboo forest in the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Bamboo forest

After this, the trail winds its way to the road.  Going left takes you to private property, so you’ll probably want to turn right, go to the house, and then turn left into the Cottage Garden.  The ironwork was my favorite part of this garden.

The Cottage Garden at the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

The Cottage Garden. The sun decided to disappear right about then…but was soon back, thankfully!

There’s only one more little thing to see – a kind of greenhouse attached to the house.  Go along the left side of the house and you’ll find a small addition with plants inside.  If the door is open, as it was the day we visited, you can go inside and see a variety of exotic plants and a small fountain with fish in it (the fountain wasn’t running when I saw it, though).

 

Exotic Plants at the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Exotic Plants

 

If you’re interested in hiking, you’ll have to go back out the parking area and walk back up the road a short ways to Patriots Path, which will take you over in the Bamboo Brook Natural Area (and I don’t know how the creek got its name!)

 

The bottom line is that I found the Willowwood Arboretum well worth visiting.  The grounds were immaculately kept, and the variety of plants and flowers kept us occupied all morning long!

 

Round trip trail length: We walked 1.25 miles (2 km); this could be shortened or lengthened

Elevation Change: Negligible.  Maybe 50 ft. (15 m)

Facilities: Restrooms in the Shingle Barn near the parking area.

Fees: None

 

Trail ★★★★☆

Road ★★★★☆

Signs ★★★★★

Scenery ★★★☆☆

Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this? ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

 

Key GPS Coordinates for the Willowwood Arboretum

More ironwork in the Cottage Garden in the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

More ironwork in the Cottage Garden

Parking area: 40.72530N / 074.69933W (40° 43′ 31.0794″ / 74° 41′ 57.588″) (304 ft.; 92 m)

Mediterranean Garden: 40.72557N / 074.69917W (40° 43′ 32.0514″ / 74° 41′ 57.0114″) (359 ft.; 109 m)

Pan Garden: 40.72657N / 074.69865W (40° 43′ 35.652″ / 74° 41′ 55.14″) (340 ft.; 103 m)

Tubbs Residence – Porch: 40.72654N / 074.69862W (40° 43′ 35.5434″ / 74° 41′ 55.032″) (341 ft.; 104 m)

Japanese Garden: 40.72676N / 074.69839W (40° 43′ 36.3354″ / 74° 41′ 54.204″) (336 ft.; 102 m)

Stone bridge: 40.72676N / 074.69823W (40° 43′ 36.3354″ / 74° 41′ 53.6274″) (342 ft.; 104 m)

Cottage Garden: 40.72600N / 074.69861W (40° 43′ 33.5994″ / 74° 41′ 54.996″) (351 ft.; 107 m)

 

The gpx file for the Willowwood Arboretum can be downloaded – please note that this and the GPS Coordinates are for reference only and should not be used as a sole resource when walking around.  Also realize that I did several circles, so you may not want to follow this to a T 🙂

Download GPX File size: 41.4 KB Downloaded 7 times

(Note: I do my best to ensure that all downloads, the webpage, etc. are virus-free and accurate; however, I cannot be held responsible for any damage that might result, including but not limited to loss of data, damages to hardware, harm to users, from use of files, information, etc. from this website.  Thanks!)

 

Getting to the Willowwood Arboretum

The fountain in the room off the side of the house in Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

The fountain in the room off the side of the house

From Chester, NJ, drive south on US-206 for almost 7 miles to Pottersville Road (there is a stoplight here).  Turn right onto Pottersville Road and drive approximately 0.5 miles to Lisk Hill Road.  Drive another 0.1 miles to a T intersection and turn right.  Continue 0.3 miles to a Y intersection and turn left onto Longview Road.  If you’re not from NJ, by now you’ll probably be scratching your head and wondering why these roads aren’t one-way and are actually real roads.  Don’t worry.  This is just a lesser-known part of New Jersey.  Keep driving on Longview Road for 0.5 miles, then turn left at the entrance to the Willowwood Arboretum.  Be forewarned that the entrance road is graded gravel and a very rough cattle guard is at the beginning of the road.  It’s certainly accessible, though, as some of us were driving in a Camry and were ok (just take it slow).

 

If you’re coming from I-287, take Exit 22 (that’s Exit 22 if coming from the north and Exit 22B if coming from the south) onto US-206 North.  Drive almost 7 miles to Pottersville Road; turn left and follow the directions above to the Arboretum.

 

If you’re coming from I-80, take Exit 27A to US-206 South; drive almost 8 miles to the middle of Chester, then follow the directions above to the Arboretum.

 

Visual map of my route around the Willowwood Arboretum, Morris County, New Jersey

Visual map of my route around the arboretum

This Week’s Featured Product!

If you need hikes in New Jersey, this is a pretty good guide.  I’ve used it many times to look for new places to hike while visiting relatives in NJ, and have found some very nice hikes in it.  The maps are helpful, too.

 

 

 

Chance of Rain

Monday

Mon Dec 11

50%

Chance of Rain
Chance of late night showers. Lows overnight in the mid 20s.

Snow

Tuesday

Tue Dec 12

80%

Snow
Snow during the morning will give way to lingering snow showers during the afternoon. Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 80%. Snowfall around one inch.

Partly Cloudy

Wednesday

Wed Dec 13

0%

Partly Cloudy
Cloudy early with partial sunshine expected late. High 28F. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph.

Partly Cloudy

Thursday

Thu Dec 14

20%

Partly Cloudy
Cloudy early with partial sunshine expected late. A few flurries or snow showers possible. High 28F. Winds light and variable.

Overcast

Friday

Fri Dec 15

20%

Overcast
Cloudy. A few flurries or snow showers possible. High 28F. Winds light and variable.

 


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